Original Story by Harlan Ellison
Directed by Alan Smithee (Gil Cates)
Original Airdate - November 8, 1985
Danny Kaye - Gaspar
Glynn Turman - Billy Kinnetta
Corky Ford - Punk #2
John Bryant - Punk #1
Mike Reynolds - Driver



An old man is visiting a cemetery, when two kids jump him and try to rob him. He cries out "Protect me," to the watch he holds in his hand, as they knock him to the ground. A younger black man is also visiting a grave in the cemetery, and he scares off the two kids. He helps the old man to his feet. The old man tells him his name is Gaspar, and he's visiting his wife's grave. Gaspar invites himself home with the young man, Billy Kinneta, and they have tea. Billy goes to work that evening but tells the man he can stay for awhile and just shut the door when he leaves. When Billy comes home Gaspar is still there, and he's even cooked a big dinner for him. Billy eventually realizes that the old man has nowhere to go and no home anymore, so he says he can stay with him for awhile. The two men talk and become familiar with each other.

While watching the news about nuclear testing, Billy becomes upset. Gaspar says that the final standoff will never happen and that Billy shouldn't worry about it. Billy starts talking about why he was at the cemetery that day. He was visiting the grave of a soldier, someone he'd never even met but that soldier had given his life so that Billy could live. Billy had been on patrol in Vietnam, and realized that he was surrounded by enemy. He knew he was going to die, and then a lance corporal from his platoon had just jumped up out of the grass and started yelling and screaming, and the enemy killed him. Billy got away. He was frantic by the time he got the story told, and Gaspar had him sit down. The next day while they were talking, Gaspar told Billy that he had no children, and when he died his memories of his wife, Mina, would be truly dead then. There was no one to remember. Billy tells him, "I'll remember for you," and Gaspar gratefully tells him of his wife and his own life. That night, when Billy comes home from his job, Gaspar is sleeping on the couch, and the watch is on his chest. It floats upward, and Billy tries to catch it, but Gaspar wakes up and takes it. He asks Billy to go with him to the cemetery tomorrow, one last time.

At the cemetery, Gaspar tells him of the hour that was saved when the calendars were aligned, centuries ago. And that that hour was saved within the watch he carried; he was the present guardian of the watch and he was looking for the right person to take over the guardianship. Billy said that he wasn't the right person to do anything; he was worthless. But Gaspas pointed out to him all they'd done during the past few days, and that Billy was the right person to take the watch. Gaspar said that he wanted to waste one of the minutes from that precious hour to see his beloved Mina again, and Billy said that wouldn't be right. Gaspar smiled and said, "You know I've been testing you, don't you, and you've passed the tests. Mina and I don't need that minute, but I think you do if you're going to carry the watch."

He turned the dial and the watch started ticking. A fog came up, and in the fog was the form of a cadet in uniform. Billy talked to the cadet. The fog disappeared, and Billy turned to Gaspar. But Gaspar was lying on the ground, looking as if he was dead. Billy cradled the old man in his arms and said that he had thanked the cadet for saving his life. The cadet had said that he never knew anyone was in that foxhole, and he thanked Billy for letting him know he didn't die for nothing. Billy told Gaspar he couldn't be dead yet. Gaspar opened an eye and said, "Can I remember you to my old girl?" Billy smiled, and Gaspar opened his hand and the watch floated over to Billy's hand. With his task done, Gaspar died. Billy, the new guardian of the hour, sat with the old man for a little while.



Touching and not at bit maudlin, "Paladin of the Lost Hour" is another step towards excellence.  Adapted from Harlan Ellison's excellent short story "Paladin," this production benefits by casting Danny Kaye as Gaspar, the keeper of the watch.  Kaye is able to whimsically add to Gaspar's personality all sorts of quirks, which I frankly think TV productions sometimes need.  It fleshes out the character and brings it to life, something that had been lacking in a few of the earlier new Twilight Zone episodes.  I'm not really a Danny Kaye fan, and a little of him goes a long way, so a 40 minute teleplay is not enough time for me to lose patience with him.  He does a nice job as Gaspar, and is relatively restrained. 

Glynn Turman is remarkable as Billy Kinneta, a man who is haunted by the way his life was saved.  In what is essentially a two man teleplay, Turman more than holds his own with Kaye, who was an inveterate scene-stealer. After Turman has been granted his one minute with the man who saved his life, he returns from the conversation energized and enlightened, and you can see it on his face. He's a an extremely talented actor who has continued to add successful productions to his resume.